Friday, March 16, 2012

Yakima Chief inc. hosts Yakima Brewers and Mid-Columbia Zymurgy

Karl and Ken prepare a hop extract presentation
The Yakima Chief  Hop processing facility in Sunnyside Washington graciously opened up the doors to the Yakima Valley's Homebrew club, Yakima Brewers. Thankfully The Yakima Brewers are a great bunch of folks who also invited the neighbouring Tri-Cities  homebrew club, Mid-Columbia Zymurgy Association for the tour.

The CO2 extraction facilitie's Karl Vanevenhoven, Director of Operatoins, and Ken Mortensen, extract plant manager, provided a fantastic educational and eye opening tour of the CO2 extraction process, packaging, pelletizing, and storage of hops.

Yakima Brewers and Mid-Columbia Zymurgy Assn ready to taste pure Alpha Acid extract.

High pressure CO2 hop extraction machinery

The CO2 extraction process uses super high pressure CO2 (3,000 psi) pushed through ground hop pellets to extract oils and acids. A second process using agitation and  food-grade chemicals to adjust PH separates the alpha acid, beta acid, and oils. The remaining vegetable matter is pelletized again and sold as livestock feed. (nothing goes to waste)

Everyone entering a cold storage warehouse.

44lb boxes of Cascade Pellets

The warehouse stores all forms of hop, whole leaf, pellet, and extract in a 30 degree fahrenheit humidity controlled environment.

200lb bale of compressed whole hops

Hop bales to be shredded.
Hop pellets begin as 200 lb bales of compressed whole hops straight from the cold storage warehouse. The bales are put on a conveyor and shredded before the pellet machine makes pellets.

An exposed pellet die with pellets still attached.
The shredded hop material is forced through dies to create pellets.

The tour finished with a generous amount of 3 ounce hop samples (everything from Simcoe to sorachi ace), tshirts, posters, and a kegerator of Snipes beer. Yakima Chief's Ken and Karl were fantastic hosts, and many thanks to the Yakima Brewers for letting Mid-Columbia Zymurgy tag along.

1 comment:

  1. Impressive shots of the plant you have here. The breakdown on some of the processes also make an interesting read.
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